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Coveney will decide ‘who gets what’ in new CAP package

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BY FRANCIS FARRAGHER

 THE ‘nuts and bolts’ of the CAP deal will only be worked out at national level over the course of the next six months, but Galway IFA Chairman, Michael Flynn, has warned that most farmers will be facing a reduction in their payments.

Although Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, has expressed his delight last week at getting the new deal agreed, the sharing out of the ‘Irish cake’ of €1.2 billion per year among 130,000 farmers – to be decided over the coming six to nine months – will be critical as regards farm income between now and 2019.

This week, Galway IFA Chairman, Michael Flynn, told the Farming Tribune that regardless of how the talks evolved at national level over the coming months, it was almost certain that the majority of farmers would have to take a reduction in their single payment.

“One thing we do want to ensure is that our Pillar 2 payments especially in DAS (Disadvantages Areas Scheme) are not alone maintained but restored to their pre-cut levels. These payments are an absolute lifeline for the smaller West of Ireland farmers,” said Mr. Flynn.

Fianna Fáil Agricultural Spokesman, Éamon Ó Cuív, told the Farming Tribune that the single most important thing that should happen over the coming months was for ‘an honest and completely open debate’ to take place on the options that now were available.

“We must face up to issues here honestly and address the situation whereby the top 2% of farmers end up getting 12% of the payments. The flexibility is there to ensure that we get a far fairer redistribution of payments that will benefit the vast majority of Irish farmers,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

He said that he wasn’t in favour of a clause limiting cuts to 30% across the board, as this meant a farmer on €200,000 worth of payments would end up still on a payment level of €140,000 per annum.

“We need to have a very factual appraisal in relation to looking at a maximum payment level of €650 per hectare and to the frontloading of payments for the first 50 hectares. This would have a positive impact on over 80% of Irish farms,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

Galway IFA Chairman, Michael Flynn, who attended a day long IFA National Council meeting in Dublin on Tuesday dealing with the new CAP, said that there was no getting away from the fact that there was a serious payment reduction element to the new deal.

“Here in the West of Ireland we would strongly support the provision of a strong coupled element to the CAP for our farmers. Over recent weeks and months, we have all seen the huge sell-off of suckler cows while the ewe flock has also suffered a decline – if we don’t protect the farmers at the basic building block stage of the production cycle, then the whole industry will be under threat,” said Michael Flynn.

He said that he was also worried about increasing payment levels for non-productive farmers and added that this should be looked at in the context of the mid-term CAP review due in 2017.

“If the European taxpayers see a situation developing whereby they are subsidising ‘so called farmers’ who are producing nothing, then it could call into question the whole future of the CAP. The funds need to be targeted at the active producing farmers,” said Michael Flynn.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Worry of walkers claiming against farmers

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Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy

FARMERS in hill-walk areas such as Connemara need to have their concerns allayed about insurance indemnification, the IFA has warned this week.

A pilot insurance project for farmers – as outlined by Rural and Community Development Minister, Heather Humphrey – is in the pipeline but has not yet been enacted into legislation.

Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy, said that farmers in such areas needed the clear reassurance that if walkers on their farm had a fall or mishap, then the landowners would not be liable for any compensation.

“This really is a red line issue for farmers and landowners. They must be guaranteed in law that if hill-walkers are allowed on their lands that no liability will attach to the landowner if something happens,” said Pat Murphy.

He said that while farmers supported the principle of people being able to access the more scenic areas of the countryside, the issue of insurance indemnification had to be crystal clear.

“We also know that the issue of dogs being let roam by people out on country walks is one that needs to be addressed.

“The first thing a dog will do that’s let roam free will be to follow the nearest animal they see, and this is a major worry especially for sheep farmers,” said Pat Murphy.

Meanwhile, National Hill Committee Chairman Flor McCarthy has expressed concerns about recreational users not abiding by the Countryside Code during the recent spell of good weather.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Now is the right time to plan ahead for next year’s crop of Spring lambs

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The boss is around: Prepare early for the breeding season. Photo: Compliments of Agriland.

IT might still only be Midsummer, but a Teagasc specialist has advised sheep farmers that now is the time to start planning ahead for the upcoming breeding season.

Michael Gottstein, Head of Sheep Knowledge Transfer, said that while most people considered the breeding season to be just the five to six weeks that the rams were out with the ewes, in reality it was much longer.

“The breeding season for next year’s lamb crop actually starts once the current year’s lamb crop is weaned,” Michael Gottstein has advised in the Summer edition of the Teagasc magazine, Today’s Farm.

He outlined three key Summer dates for sheep farmers – late June/early July for weaning and checking on the condition of the ewes; early July for a ram health check; and late July/early August when the ram sales kick off.

The Teagasc specialist said that productive ewes will require about 10 weeks of good grass after weaning to regain body weight lost during pregnancy and lactation.

“Contrary to what many farmers think, it is not a good idea to allow ewes to lose weight post-weaning. Thin ewes that do not regain body condition after six weeks of good grass should be culled,” said Michael Gottstein.

He also advised that rams should be checked in early July for lameness, body condition, as well as for signs of disease or injury – while, like the ewes, they needed time to regain body condition.

“Identify how many, if any, replacements (rams) are required and purchase them early, so that they have the best chance of acclimatising to their new environment and feeding regime,” he added.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Fair Deal reached as Bill is enacted

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Maura Canning: Good day expected.
Maura Canning, the former IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chairperson

RELIEF has been expressed this week in farming and political circles that at last the Fair Deal Nursing Home legislations changes have been passed by the Oireachtas.

The Bill went through the Dáil last Thursday and the Seanad on Friday, bringing to a conclusion a campaign that started back in 2012.

Maura Canning, the former IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chairperson, told the Farming Tribune there was a great sense of relief that a nine-year long campaign had at last got over the line.

“It has been such a long and difficult campaign to secure this deal with a lot of complications and obstacles along the way. At times, we seemed to be almost there, until something happened to hold up the process, but there really was a great sense of relief last Friday when the Bill at last passed through its final stages,” said Maura Canning.

She paid a particular to former Minister of State, Jim Daly; the current incumbent Mary Butler; and also to the many TDs and Senators that had been lobbied over the years on the issue. “No TD ever failed to return a call,” she said.

The key change in the new Bill is that there will be a three-year cap on the 7.5% annual contribution of the overall value of the farm where the farmer or their spouse is in a nursing home. There are a number of conditions attached to this CAP, the most significant of which is the fact that the farm must be signed over fully to the inheritor for a five-year period and this person must also continue farming on the land.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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